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      Conspicuous amongst these was Barras, who, though his hands were deeply dyed in the blood of the Terror, belonged to one of the noblest families in Provence.


      The flower-battle was over, and the mistral had gone back to the great wind-cavern to lie in wait for the next golden opportunity; and the sun was shining once again upon the hills where the oil mills nestled, clinging to some rough ledge beside the ever-dropping waters, upon the labyrinthine lanes and alleys, the queer little flights of stone steps up which a figure like Ali Baba might generally be seen leading his heavily-laden, long-suffering donkey; upon arch and cupola, church and market-place, and on the triple rampart of hills that shuts San Remo from the outer world. The Disneys had been in Italy nearly seven weeks, and it seemed as natural to Isola to open her eyes upon the broad blue waters of the Mediterranean, the gorgeous sunrise, and the lateen sails, as on the Fowey river and the hills towards Polruan. She had taken kindly to this Italian exile. The sun and the blue sky had exercised a healing influence upon that hidden wound which had once made[Pg 231] her heart seem one dull, aching pain. She loved this new world of wood and hill, and most of all she loved the perfect liberty of this distant retreat, and the consolations of solitude. As for the cough, or the pain in her side, or any of those other symptoms about which the doctor talked to her so gravely, she made very light of them. She was happy in her husband's love, happy in his society, strolling with him in the olive wood, or the deserted garden, or down to the little toy-shop parade by the sea, where the band played once a week; or to the other garden in the town, where the same band performed on another day, and which was dustier and less airy than the little plantation of palm and cactus upon the edge of the sea. She went for excursions with him to points of especial beauty high up among the hillsto the chocolate mill, to San Romolo, she riding a donkey, he at the animal's side, while the guide trudged cheerily in the dust at the edge of the mountain road. In the evening she played to him, or sat by his side while he smoked the pipe of rest, or worked while he read to her. They had never been more devoted to each other, never more like wedded lovers than they were now. People who only knew them by sight talked of them admiringly, as if their love were an interesting phenomenon.The people came back to the dancing, which went on till daylight. The music could be heard in the distance, drowned from time to time by the yelling of the jackals or the watchman's call, and it was not till daybreak that the drumming ceased.



      Sur des fronts abattus, mon aspect dans ces lieux

      "But as you didn't drop the tea-cup, I hope you do forgive me for my stolen contemplation, for sitting in my corner there and admiring you in the firelight?"

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      For another minute the sublime ice-peak remained visible through the gauzy whiteness, and then a cloud rising from beyond the range descended on the heights and gradually enfolded the whole chain.

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      Meanwhile, many who would have shrunk from [413] the crimes and horrors for which in their folly they were preparing the way as fast as possible, went on playing with fire, by encouraging the disloyalty that was in the air, sympathising with the outrageous demands put forward by the Radical leaders, circulating libels and inventing lying stories against the Queen and royal family, joining noisily in the abuse of everything that had hitherto been held sacred or respectable, and doing everything in their power to inflame the evil passions and excite the cupidity and violence of the mob.


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